Metro Weekly

Open Cam

Reel Affirmations 2005

Review by Sean Bugg

Rating: starstarstarstar (4 out of 5)

Thursday, 10/20/2005, 7:00 PM
Feature presentation, $9 at Lincoln Theatre

IF YOU HAVE a taste for red herrings, cute boys having sex and hometown D.C. locations, Open Cam offers a full menu for you.

Manny is a struggling young D.C. artist — at least, the type of struggling artist who goes commando in Diesel jeans and International Male belts — who’s lately become a bit addicted to a web-cam sex site, washingtondick.com (”under construction” in the real world, in case you were wondering, and I know you were). Unfortunately, someone’s become slightly addicted to Manny as well, and has taken to killing Manny’s tricks live, online.

Enter Hamilton, a freshly out of the closet police detective who’s assigned to protect Manny and ferret out the killer. Suspects galore come and go, primarily among Manny’s closest circle of friends, all of whom seem to harbor feelings for the apparently irresistible artist.

Oh, and there’s a lot of sex, if you’re into that.

Open Cam sports some surprisingly high production values, giving all the scenes a slick and polished look that goes far in suspending disbelief. And believe me, that suspension requires some heavy lifting. Just don’t spend too much time wondering why a sex hook-up site that broadcast multiple live castration murders of users would ever have traffic again.

As Hamilton, Amir Darvish turns in the best performance, although his channeling of Al Pacino grates at times (but it’s an appropriate reference, particularly when he puts on his mirrored sunglasses and starts resembling Karen Allen at the end of Cruising). Andreau Thomas, however, is little more than pretty to look at.

Writer and director Robert Gaston shows a lot talent for pulling off a well-executed thriller, constructing some taut scenes worthy of any big Hollywood production. The fate of one of the internet killer’s victims in particular is truly chilling, and the climax is a tautly constructed set piece with nods to a classic fright film that can’t even be named, lest I give something away. A couple plot holes aside, Open Cam is worth the ride.

Open Cam
Sean Bugg is Editor Emeritus for Metro Weekly.